Monday Morning Thoughts: More Calls for Housing Plan

When I was a graduate student in political science, one of the professors I used to TA for would often talk about how presidents would assign blue ribbon panels as ways to either kill potentially unpopular solutions to problems or give themselves political cover.  We can call this paralysis by analysis.

The reality is that we are already paralyzed, for the most part, in Davis on the housing front, and therefore having a plan might give us a way forward.

The editorial in yesterday’s Enterprise notes: “Conditions in the housing market can’t continue as they are…  With the long-running plans for the Sterling Apartments project headed for a hearing before the Davis City Council on Tuesday, we get our latest reminder of how dysfunctional urban planning in Davis has become.”

The editorial notes that Measure R “[m]akes building on the periphery of town effectively impossible” but, at the same time, it argues that “while Davis voters say they favor densification (‘build up, not out’), any proposal to do so immediately runs into local opposition.”

To be honest, I’m sure the Enterprise is correct on the latter point.  I’ve seen arguments from those more supportive of growth that if you aren’t willing to build out, you have to build up.  But I’ve seen no poll or citizen-based statement supportive of higher density infill.

Certainly, when it comes to a site-by-site basis, the Enterprise is accurate to say: “Whether it’s Sterling, new UC Davis dorms on Russell Fields or the 27-unit Trackside Center proposal at the edge of downtown, neighbors will band together to prevent the character of the neighborhood from being altered.”

The Enterprise notes, “After back-and-forth negotiations with the developers — Houston-based Dinerstein Companies — the park’s board has dropped its opposition, even as individual residents continue to fight.”

Much as we did, the Enterprise notes, “And while the negotiations were productive, they highlight the obstacles any development faces in an environment where projects go not where they make the most sense, but wherever a suitable parcel happens to become available. Sterling would have made more sense closer to campus, but where is there a likely 6-acre site?”

The Enterprise unfortunately is stepping on its message.  We have pulled out the stats a few times, but, from a practical standpoint, a project within two miles of campus is actually close enough.  The students do not drive to campus (only 11 percent will drive from that distance) compared with 55 percent who will bike and 30 percent who will take the bus.

The Enterprise continues oversimplifying the issue here: “While we all bemoan the 0.2-percent apartment vacancy rate that results, and the accompanying cramming of UCD students into residential neighborhoods, when push comes to shove we vote instead to protect our property values.”

I’m not convinced that property values are the driver and, while many do bemoan the two former points, they have a solution – push development to campus.

Where I fully agree with the Enterprise here: “To be sure, Measure R also hamstrings the city’s planning efforts. It’s certainly not conducive to any sort of overall vision when hundreds of staff hours of work go up in smoke on Election Day, but that doesn’t mean the City Council can’t show leadership on the issue.

“Instead of dealing piecemeal with each project as it comes along — leapfrogging across the city map from parcel to parcel — the city could use a comprehensive housing plan that, with citizen input, will channel densification into the areas best able to absorb it.

“And while it’s all well and good to insist that UCD house more of its own students, the city has to deal with the demographic pressures as they are. More students are coming. More Davis residents are growing up and being shut out of the housing market.

“If things continue as they are — without finding a way to accommodate the people who want to live, work and study here — Davis will lose the vibrant, small-town character that anti-growth folks say they are trying to protect.”

Unfortunately we don’t even know how many housing units we need.  A simple plan would be deciding how many we need and where the available places are to put them.  Leadership from the council is missing on this issue.

Yes, I agree with Robb Davis when he argues that we do not have a command economy and that the council can only approve projects that come before them, but I think we expect something more from the council than passive approval – we need leadership, we need them to get in front on this issue, even if it means risking failure.

Mary Jo Bryan, an opponent of Sterling, makes a similar point.

She writes in a letter, “Many community members, including me, are concerned that our city leaders do not currently have a clearly articulated strategy for addressing the community’s housing needs. The low apartment vacancy rate and the pressure to meet student needs places unrelenting pressure and urgency on our city and staff.”

She notes, “Planning is even more critical when land and economic resources are extremely limited.”

Right now, she argues, we are doing piecemeal planning.

She writes, “We have always been a community of citizen participation. We spend valuable time attending City Council and commission meetings. We read reports, speak at the meetings, and write commentaries and letters to the editor. However, our outdated General Plan frustrates our resolve and efforts.”

“I am not a ‘no growth’ advocate. I believe in smart growth, good planning and community participation,” she writes.

No, Ms. Bryan goes further than I would when she writes, “I don’t see this happening now, and I am willing to take a stand. I would support a moratorium on future housing projects until the city has a formal policy that satisfies the housing needs for our community.”

As several have pointed out here, we have 0.2 percent vacancy rate and we need to resolve that.  Having a multi-year planning process is not what I have in mind.  But I agree with both the Enterprise and Mary Jo Bryan, we need a housing plan, we need to creatively figure out what we need and how to provide that.

Her bottom line: “We cannot stop growth, but we can collectively use our creative talents to come up with strategies and an intelligent plan that will shape the growth of Davis for the future, and at the same time maintain Davis’ uniqueness and quality of life.”

My bottom line is this: There is a reason we can’t stop growth and that is that the students who come to the university need a place to live, and unless we want this to become a bifurcated community with retired people and students, we need to figure out ways to plan for working family housing as well.

What we are doing is not working.  So why are we trying more of the same and hoping that something gives?

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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96 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: More Calls for Housing Plan”

  1. John D

    Yeah, “Working family housing” – only with no jobs for the working families – because we don’t have room for employers either.

    Maybe at some point you will concede the necessity or wisdom of a professionally conducted community visioning and planning process as advocated by Mayor Krovoza and Councilmember Swanson back in 2011?

    To paraphrase your closing comment:  “How else do you propose to break the logjam?”

     

     

  2. Ron

    Against my better judgement, I’ll post again here.

    There is currently a large amount of housing in Davis under construction, or imminently planned.  Some of that housing is specifically intended for the local workforce.  (No need to relist them, here.)

    Some of us have argued that the opposition to Sterling would essentially disappear, if it was designed to house a broad range of populations (including students, those in the local workforce, etc.), instead of a large-scale design that’s specifically oriented toward students.  Many believe that developments such as Sterling would be more appropriate on campus.

    But, the article above touches on an important point.  If housing advocates and the city continue to try to force large-scale developments into neighborhoods or other locations that may not be suitable for it (and often requiring a change in zoning), there will certainly be continued opposition.  (There are also other impacts on the city as a whole, from such an approach.)

    Perhaps the bottom line is that there are ultimately limits to the amount of growth/development that will be accepted (or otherwise advisable for the city as a whole), whether it’s “outward” or “upward”. And, some are reluctant to acknowledge this.

  3. Matt Williams

    Ron said . . . “Some of us have argued that the opposition to Sterling would essentially disappear, if it was designed to house a broad range of populations (including students, those in the local workforce, etc.), instead of a large-scale design that’s specifically oriented toward students.”

    Ron, you are correct that some have made that suggestion; however, that suggestion is merely a hypothesis.

    If you took the time to test that hypothesis by interviewing residents of the neighborhoods near the Sterling site, you would find that (1) the sheer size of the proposed Sterling structure is a major concern independent of who is living in the structure, (2) that the concerns about traffic impacts are lower for a student-oriented complex because the campus destination means a high mode share will be using Unitrans for their daily commute, and (3) that destruction of the existing buildings on the site would be just as devastating in either a student or non-student scenario.

    1. Ron

      Matt:  You are not privy to all communications, regarding the proposed development.  However, your statements conflict with others that have been made on the Vanguard, including from a Rancho Yolo resident.

      It seems that issue #1 (the sheer size) can be addressed, regardless of design.  Regarding issue #2, again, that “commute” (whether it’s via bicycle, bus, or driving) can be eliminated if the structure is on campus.  Regarding #3 (destruction of the facility), that is true.

      In general, your argument that there would be concerns regarding traffic if a more “traditional” design is chosen is probably true, and is a likely result if/when the city approves such designs anywhere in the city.  It is one of the impacts (and limiting factors that I described above) that neighbors (and the city as a whole) will face, as more proposals come forward.

      1. Todd Edelman

        whether it’s via bicycle, bus, or driving

        There’s a huge difference in impact of these three modes. For example, people who ride a bike through Downtown are more inclined than drivers to stop and spend some money. integrate socially, get exercise, stink up the air less. There has to a route that makes this fast and safe for cyclists and safe for everyone else. From locations near Pole Line and 5th there’ll be an alternative route to campus via Olive to the Arboretum.

        1. Mark West

          “From locations near Pole Line and 5th there’ll be an alternative route to campus via Olive to the Arboretum.”

          Why would anyone travel that convoluted route when it is a straight shot West to campus from 5th and Pole Line? I can see doing it for pleasure, but you don’t choose the longer route when you are racing to class. Most people understand how to share the road and don’t need a nanny state to remove all risk from their lives.

        2. Alan Miller

          Why would anyone travel that convoluted route when it is a straight shot West to campus from 5th and Pole Line?

          You are thinking too much like a driver.  I’m sure Mr. E is talking about a future that has a Pole Line – Olive bike-ped connector, an imminently excellent idea, and a very direct route to campus.

          Most people understand how to share the road and don’t need a nanny state to remove all risk from their lives.

          You are thinking too much like a driver.  Bicycles in traffic are vulnerable to cars, and the risk has increased greatly with the advent of electronic attention diversion devices.  Separated trunk routes are necessary and should be constructed where-ever possible.

          I have had several friends hit by cars while cycling, one killed, one seriously injured.  You should watch the “Ride of Silence” where each year the riders wear armbands with a unique color if they have been hit by a car.  About half the riders wear these armbands.

          This isn’t nanny-state-ism, which I often criticize.  This is just good transportation planning.

           

        3. Mark West

          “You are thinking too much like a driver.”

          No, I’m thinking like someone who has ridden a bike in town for 50 years and has trained six kids how to do so safely.

          “This is just good transportation planning.”

          Completely agree if we are talking about new construction. Not so much in a retrofit situation as we have here. The older parts of town were not constructed with off-street bicycle access in mind so it seems more than a tad foolish to be expecting to add that now without significant redevelopment, which you seem to be opposed to (at least in your own neighborhood).

          “E is talking about a future that has a Pole Line – Olive bike-ped connector, an imminently excellent idea…”

          I agree it is an excellent idea, but given our current fiscal situation, not a rational priority. Maybe once we have redeveloped our old low-density neighborhoods into more land-use efficient spaces.

          “several friends hit by cars while cycling”

          As have I, but over the years the most serious incidents occurred out in the county, not while riding around town. Completely different situations.

          “electronic attention diversion devices…”

          Maybe we should pass a law…oh yeah, we did. I walk around town a great deal and regularly have to jump out of the way of bicyclists wearing earbuds or headphones plugged into one of those devices and completely unaware of their surroundings. I rarely wear them when I walk for that very reason. We are all responsible for our own safety whether we walk, ride or drive, with the number one concern being looking out for those campaigning for a Darwin Award.

      2. Matt Williams

        Ron, I simply asked you if you have tested your hypothesis.  Either you have or you haven’t.

        Your comment regarding issue #1 is true independent of the demographic mix of the project’s occupants.  As such, your comment does nothing to address your hypothesis.

        Your comment regarding issue #2 is a logical fallacy.  First your hypothesis proposes a reality where the structure is non-student, and then your comment proposes moving that non-student structure onto the campus to mitigate the traffic impacts of the non-student residents driving to their various life activities (work, etc.)

        Regardless, your comment does not answer the basic question.  Have you actually tested your hypothesis before you presented it here?

      1. David Greenwald

        The traffic issue is another red herring.  You are talking about 11 percent driving to campus, that means about 55 extra cars spread through out the day.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            There are limitations to every survey. But it’s the best available information.

    2. Dianne C Tobias

      Hi Matt

      why does this and the proposed Lincoln 40 development have bathrooms for every bedroom?  Seems expensive and excessive. Could it be because both are marketed to rent by the bedroom?

        1. JosephBiello

          @Don,  I have a friend who just AirBnB’ed a room in the Cannery (a 3 story attached place).  I was shocked to see the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms and the lack of common space.

          I don’t believe for a second that those attached homes in the Cannery will be purchased by families.  They will become mini-dorms for sure.  This particular one was (5 rooms).    Someone will buy the house for his/her child and then rent the other rooms.

          We can “plan” all we want, but the market constraints will find novels ways to laugh at our ideas.

           

           

           

           

  4. David Greenwald

    “There is currently a large amount of housing in Davis under construction, or imminently planned. ”

    And none of it is student housing as detailed in the Planning Commission staff report.

      1. Ron

        Don:  “And by the standards of any other community, it’s not a large amount of housing.”

        That’s your standard for comparison?  Is that a goal?

      2. David Greenwald

        “According to the City’s 2016 Residential Report, of the 266 residential permits issued, Zero (0) were issued for market-rate/student apartments.”

        “n While the city is meeting the targets for all residential categories, they are not meeting targets for market rate/student apartments.”

        “The majority of the apartments developed over the last several years have been dedicated affordable units. “

    1. Ron

      David:  “And none of it is student housing as detailed in the Planning Commission staff report.”

      And – perhaps none of it should be specifically designed for students, 2 miles from campus.

      1. David Greenwald

        We don’t have any market rate, rental units of any type as I just laid out above, so that’s a red herring.

        2 miles from campus as I point out in this article is also a red herring.  Why does distance from campus matter?  Well because it influences how students get to school.  At two miles, according to the UC Davis Tranportation report only 11 percent are driving. Whereas 55 percent are biking and 30 percent are using the bus.  Two miles is not far enough to be an issue other than the fact that you are falsely trying to make it into one.

        1. Ron

          David:  As I (and others) have pointed out above, opposition would be essentially eliminated (as a realistic outcome), if a more traditional and somewhat smaller design was selected.  This should address your concerns regarding a lack of construction of market-rate, “workforce” rental housing during the past few years (which coincided with the housing crash and economic downturn, impacting construction across the country).

          Ultimately, traffic is traffic, whether it’s bicycle or auto.  In fact, one impacts the other.  (Sometimes “literally”, as well.) (Did someone mention that this can be eliminated, by having student-oriented housing on campus?)

          Still, by constantly citing statistics regarding a “lack of construction” in one category or another, you are providing “evidence” of my basic point.  Some are reluctant to acknowledge that there are limits to the amount of growth and development that will be accepted (or are otherwise advisable), within the city.  (And, that’s true whether it’s “outward” or “upward”.)

           

           

        2. David Greenwald

          I don’t agree Ron that opposition would be eliminated.  I believe size is the sole driver of the opposition and that a two story student apartment building there would draw very little opposition.  Does that make it good policy though?

        3. Ron

          David:  Based upon communications I’ve witnessed (and participated in), I don’t believe that’s the case.  I understand that the primary concern is the design, appealing almost exclusively to students.  Size is a concern as well, but the focus has not been on that. It is certainly a large-sized lot, to begin with.

          Perhaps it’s more accurate to state that any continuing opposition would lose “validity”, if design and size was better-addressed.

        4. David Greenwald

          The problem Ron is that what you’re witnessing is a response from people who are opposed to the project.  The Trackside project for instance the neighbors have stated they won’t oppose a two story project.  And I think the same is the case here.  Any apartment complex is going to draw a huge percentage of people who are students, probably in excess of 90 percent.  We lived in such a place in West Davis for years (btw, at least three miles from campus).    The structure of the apartments isn’t going to make a material difference to the people living in the neighborhood.

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Ultimately, traffic is traffic, whether it’s bicycle or auto.  In fact, one impacts the other. “

          Conspicuously missing from Ron’s bicycle or auto equation is Unitrans.  When you factor in the likelihood of the tenants using Unitrans to complete their daily trips, then the statement “Ultimately traffic is traffic” resembles swiss cheese.

        6. Ron

          David:  There is an entirely different set of issues, between a dormitory-type structure (and living situation), compared to a more “traditional” apartment complex.  Many of those issues have already been discussed.

          No doubt, neighbors would prefer a smaller-sized development on this (6 acre?) site.  Not sure if they would “insist” upon a 2-story design, though.

          Regarding Trackside, that proposal is truly “in the face” of adjacent neighbors.  The number of stories has a significant impact, there.

          Again, you (and some others) have advocated for workforce housing.  The Families First site presents an opportunity to create it.  (Yes – it would also be available to students, as all such complexes are.)

          Personally, I’d still prefer a more thorough examination to determine if the Families First site should be rezoned from industrial, in the first place.  (And, I’m not convinced there was an honest attempt to sell the property at its actual, currently-zoned value.)  If a decision is made to rezone the site, then I’d also hope that it counts toward the next round of SACOG requirements.  But again, those are just my personal preferences.

          At this point, if the proposal was simply a more traditional and less impactful, smaller design (which would also appeal to the populations that you’re advocating for), I’d likely stop opposing it, as well.

        7. David Greenwald

          “There is an entirely different set of issues, between a dormitory-type structure (and living situation), compared to a more “traditional” apartment complex. ”

          You’re stating your opinion as fact and one that I disagree with.  This is a distinction without a difference.

        8. Ron

          Matt:  “Conspicuously missing from Ron’s bicycle or auto equation is Unitrans.”

          As previously noted, the majority of “student commuters” would likely commute via bicycles (at least during fair weather).  One can debate the impact that this would have on existing traffic, safety issues, etc.

          Regarding Unitrans, would you remind me what the EIR states?  (I recall that this impact was downplayed, in the EIR.)  Regardless, Unitrans (run by UC Davis) does not even reimburse the city for its existing impacts, on city streets.  The unreimbursed damage to city streets caused by Unitrans has been addressed by others.

          Did someone note that all of the impacts of “commuting” (whether by bike, car, or bus) to campus can be eliminated by locating the development on campus?

        9. David Greenwald

          Or you could argue that you are actually reducing a lot of impacts by putting people where they can bike and bus to school rather than drive.

        10. Mark West

          Ron:  “Perhaps it’s more accurate to state that any continuing opposition would lose “validity”, if design and size was better-addressed.”

          If you believe that smaller sized projects better fit the needs of the community, then I would encourage you to find some investors, purchase the land, create your design, and submit your proposal to the City. The same is true for the neighbors of Trackside. If they believe their approach is better, they should buy the land and risk their own money to create their preferred project. Barring that, the City should evaluate the projects that are submitted and make a decision based on meeting the needs of all residents, not just those in the immediate neighborhood or those who complain the loudest.

  5. Todd Edelman

    a project within two miles of campus is actually close enough.  The students do not drive to campus (only 11 percent will drive from that distance) compared with 55 percent who will bike and 30 percent who will take the bus.

    Wow, that’s even lower than previous figures you’ve suggested or reported on! Where’dya gettum? In a slightly different Universe you added: “So then, why is on-site private vehicle storage going to be provided for 67% of residents?” (Is is “11%” of journeys, or 11% of students who said that they’ll always drive? If it’s the former it means that somewhat less than 1/6 of the parking lot will be full, and also certainly some will carpool – if just for social reasons – and take turns driving.)

    There are time-tested solutions – bike share (also including bikes that carry cargo and kids), carshare, rideshare, buses, a guaranteed ride home service, off-site dedicated-parking with good freeway access – to fulfill mobility gaps when private car use is limited, and these should be applied at whatever housing is eventually built in the former FamiliesFirst site as well as serve as tools in a comprehensive housing plan that’s one result of a “professionally-conducted community visioning and planning process.”

    But it’s about much more than sustainable mobility: We have to stop building parking places instead of sleeping places! Sterling could have perhaps 15 to 20% more beds – a guess just looking at the blueprints – if it has no on-site private car storage. One of the most important results of a comprehensive plan HAS to be a removal of the parking-minimum until the vacancy rate etc. has increased to a reasonable level, until fewer people are driving and/or taking lots of time to get to town and until we meet our transport modal share goals. But Sterling – which has problems besides “beds vs. parking” – and these aspects of the plan must be applied there as well.

     

  6. Alan Pryor

    ….Measure R also hamstrings the city’s planning efforts. It’s certainly not conducive to any sort of overall vision when hundreds of staff hours of work go up in smoke on Election Day….

    The hours do go up in smoke but it is the developers that pay for it because they reimburse the City for Planning Dept billable Staff hours. MRIC and Nishi alone have probably paid for the equivalent of 2-3 full-time Planning Dept employees over the past few years.

    1. Mark West

      “The hours do go up in smoke but it is the developers that pay for it…”

      This is the story that the ‘No’ camp wants everyone to believe, but it is the community that pays for it with the lost opportunity to address our problems, brought to us by those who want to continue stealing from the future to fund their preferred ‘way of life’ today.

  7. John D

    Sorry, but this conversation is so typical of all the other conversations – it begins and ends over the single issue of a “one off” project that “presents issues” for one reason or another.

    When should be the right time and opportunity to explore, discuss and establish a coherent, overarching contextual “coming together” that might help the community and our elected leaders to establish some viable guideposts as the community continues to bump into the exigencies of a growing student and a growing region?

    One can’t help but sympathize with Staff, the Planning Commission and the City Council, when they are constantly forced to work with Community General Plan last fully formed in 1986-1992 or thereabouts (during a period of robust economic growth) and without benefit of the outcomes of 15 years of a largely no-growth economy (except for university enrollment) and an explosion in General Fund expenditures.   Point being, it’s a very, very different looking place, now than then, with a wide spectrum of very different, urgent and pressing needs to be addressed.

    Just think about the variety of issues to come before the Vanguard readership.  To suggest that they are not all interrelated is plain foolishness.   Continue to ignore this simple reality and the outcomes will look remarkably similar.   How do we, as a community, move forward together towards some version of “more optimal” decisions and policy?

  8. Tia Will

    neighbors will band together to prevent the character of the neighborhood from being altered.”

    As they have every right to do. This is largely not about property values as some contend, but rather about neighborhood and community values. So once again, my thought is with regard to early planning. Instead of repetitively butting heads with the communities, why not at least try a process of pre-planning and early collaboration on the part of developers and city. I know that is not the current model. But since the current model is not working, could we not at least try, as a city, a more inclusive and pro-active approach ?

    1. David Greenwald

      The bottom line is there is only limited space within the city to fill a lot of needs.  So if the community will not grow out, something has to give.  I don’t blame people for fighting for their neighborhood – especially on non-essential projects – but at some point something has to give.

      1. Ron

        David:  I’d suggest that (at some point), the thing that has to “give” is the premise that the city “must” grow/develop indefinitely, above a rate or amount which is essentially/realistically required.

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, you have been very clear from the very beginning that that opinion is at the heart of your personal worldview.  No one doubts the sincerity of that personal belief of yours.

          You will find that many people share similar sentiments, but define the parameters of “required” differently than you do.

        2. Howard P

          So, Ron, when did you arrive here and why?  Semi-rhetorical, but why was there housing for you, and not those who desire to come here now, for same/similar motivations?  Feel free to ignore the “troll”…

        3. Ron

          Hi Howard.  I was wondering where you were (first online response today, I think).

          I moved to Davis as a result of a job opportunity.  Simultaneously lost my home/priced out of other reasonable options, in my home town (still am).  Never suggested that my home town “build its way to affordability”, if that was even possible. (All of this is true.)

          Not sure what you’re asking, actually.  Am I glad that I purchased a house when prices were cheaper?  Hell, yes.  (However, we just came through a historic downturn, as well.  It even affected things here, in “paradise”.)  Seems like people always want to “buy high”, and “sell low”.   (Same thing with the stock market.)

          But, similar to the stock market, the overall, long-term trend has been upward and outpacing wages (at least in so-called “desirable” parts of the country).

          Do I have empathy for those struggling with housing in one way or another?  Yes.  But, in general, I don’t advocate sound planning as a result.

           

    2. Howard P

      And “newcomers” have every right to want to join a community and still retain their own “values”… while respecting (but not “caving to”) the ‘existing ‘neighborhood’… unless you want a “litmus test” for newbies, and where would that put immigrants?

      Think the technical terms are ‘humanity’ and ‘evolution’…

      If I came here five years after you (I didn’t) would I have to accept housing in your neighborhood only if met your neighborhood ‘values’?  Would I have to ‘collaborate’ with you? We could still be good neighbors… think Will Roger’s famous quote… starts with “a friend is just a stranger…”

      1. Ron

        Howard:

        Again, not quite sure what you’re asking.  Everyone does have a “right” to join a community and retain their own values.  And, communities (as a whole) have a “right” to decide planning issues (which include the level of growth and development).  Many communities have growth and development restrictions (e.g., urban limit lines, restrictions on height, etc.).  These issues are by no means unique to Davis.

        1. Ron

          Of course, one of the “differences” between Davis and other slow-growth communities is that most of the others do not host a UC with 5,300 acres, which is driving 100% of the need for student housing.  And of those which do have a UC, many of those UCs are “stepping up” to provide sufficient housing for their students, on campus. (Just sayin’.)

        2. Howard P

          So, Ron, we need to have folk move out to provide “room” for students, staff, public/private employees, immigrants, refugees, so we have “statis”…

          When is your ‘move date’?

          Or do we “build the wall”, dig the moat, and pull up the drawbridge?

          Am OK that with that, would have drawn that line about 35 years ago… would you be here?

          As several have said, this is not ALL “UCD student driven”, as some opine. As far as vacancy rates…

        3. Ron

          Howard:  We’ve had these types of conversations, repeatedly.  Not sure much value to be added, here.

          There is a difference between “kicking people out”, vs. “not accommodating all potential growth”.  Pretty sure that you can see that.

          If circumstances had let to a situation where I never arrived, I’m pretty sure I would have survived.  (However, we wouldn’t be having this terrific conversation, today!)  🙂

        4. Howard P

          Let’s see… Ron is answering for Tia… guess she’s OK with folk telling her what she thinks… her right…

          What are “Davis values”?  Must have missed that ‘vote’… seems it should have gotten more coverage than any J/R vote… those were procedural/somewhat specific/somewhat ‘philosophical’…

          I’ll definitely grant you this… you are unique…

           

        5. Ron

          Howard:  “Let’s see… Ron is answering for Tia… guess she’s OK with folk telling her what she thinks… her right…”

          Sorry, thought you had addressed something to me.

  9. Michael Bisch

    smart growth

    noun
    noun: smart growth; plural noun: smart growths

    planned economic and community development that attempts to curb urban sprawl and worsening environmental conditions.

    Davis smart growth

    noun
    noun: smart growth; plural noun: smart growths

    1) preserve the existing condition; when untenable,

    2) do it somewhere else

    1. James R

      Michael, your definitions wouldn’t be so funny if they weren’t accurate.

      Can we organize these into a “Davisite Dictionary” of sorts, and/or reserve these for the next Measure J/R misinformation campaign?

  10. Michael Bisch

    usual pro-growth suspects

    noun

    1.
    commonly used Davis slur, albeit having no actual substantive meaning in the Davis context, intending to de-legitimize the input of the target(s)

  11. Michael Bisch

    I wasn’t able to find a definition online for “mega dorm”, but my sense from seeing and hearing the term used here in Davis is it’s similar to:

     
    bo·gey·man

    ˈbo͝oɡēˌman,ˈbōɡēˌman/

    noun

    an imaginary evil spirit, referred to typically to frighten children.
    “with the blankets pulled over our heads to keep out the bogeyman”

    a person or thing that is widely regarded as an object of fear.
    “nuclear power is the environmentalists’ bogeyman”

  12. Michael Bisch

    traf·fic im·pacts

    ˈtrafik ˈimˌpakts/

    noun

    1) an initial response serving as a placeholder to signal opposition while buying time to think of substantive arguments

    2) a rhetorical device used in Davis for negative emphasis in place of the more commonly used phrase throughout the English-speaking world, “it’s very, very bad”.
    “that project is too tall, it’s in the wrong location, it will impact our quality of life and it has traffic impacts”

  13. Michael Bisch

    Low-rise

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaLow-rise public housing in TurinItaly

    low-rise is a building that is only a few stories tall or any building that is shorter than a high-rise,[1] though others include the classification of mid-rise.[2][3]
    Emporis defines a low-rise as “an enclosed structure below 35 metres [115 feet] which is divided into regular floor levels.”[4] The city of Toronto defines a mid-rise as a building between 4 and 12 stories.[5] Also they have elevators and stairs.

    People also ask

    What is a medium rise building?

    midrise building is a building between 4 and 11 storeys in height. … On narrow streets, midrise buildings are shorter. On wider streets, they are taller. Midrise buildings are designed to maintain a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight on the street. And they are designed to protect low-scale neighbourhoods behind them.

    People also ask

    How many floors are in a high rise?

    The Emporis Standards Committee defines a high-rise building as “a multi-story structure between 35–100 meters tall, or a building of unknown height from 1239 floors” and a skyscraper as “a multi-story building whose architectural height is at least 100 m or 330 ft.”

    People also ask

    How many floors are in a Davis high rise?

    The Davis Vanguard Standards Committee defines a high-rise building as “a really scary structure having more than 2 floors“.

  14. Michael Bisch

    Now that we have a glossary of terms, here’s my 2 cents. Walking the project setting, I find it impossible to square what I am experiencing with the opposition narrative.  It’s as if the project opponents are describing a completely different setting (project site, neighborhood, intersection, road segments and transportation patterns). Try as I might, I can’t envision the project impacts that the opponents are describing.  The existing physical setting (i.e. the facts) would have to be dramatically altered to produce the impacts the opposition has been describing in the press.

    It’s also very difficult to envision an opportunity site anywhere in the city more conducive to a low/mid-rise, multi-family project (particularly a student-oriented project).  The project site is in a mixed-use area, set back a significant distance from the nearest existing neighborhood, on a major transportation route, with some of the best/newest infrastructure (with excess capacity) in the entire city.  If not here, where?

  15. Ron

    Michael:  “Now that we have a glossary of terms . . .”

    Pretty sure that I can develop an alternative glossary. (But ultimately, it would be about as “useful” as yours.)

    Michael:  ” . . . here’s my 2 cents”.

    As they say, you get what you pay for.

    Micheal:  “If not here, where?”

    Uhm, somewhere on the 5,300-acre campus?

    1. David Greenwald

      “Pretty sure that I can develop an alternative glossary. (But ultimately, it would be about as “useful” as yours.)”

      But would it be as funny?

  16. Michael Bisch

    Two more glossary terms appear necessary:

    “2 cents” = 1) an opinion; 2) a useful rhetorical device for when one is acknowledging an opinion (as opposed to a fact); 3) an effective tool for exposing obnoxious trolls.

     

    “in the city” = within the Davis city limits, i.e. not on campus

    1. Ron

      Says the guy who once stated that I needed my “teeth kicked in”.

      In all seriousness, comments like those we’re engaging in now offer nothing positive.

      1. Mark West

        Yes, Ron, that was the day you demonstrated your inability to understand metaphors and other figures of speech, or really anything but the literal definition of words.

    1. Ron

      John:  I skimmed through it, thought it was kind of interesting.  It was sort of “blocked out”, perhaps because I’m not a subscriber.

      Regarding Davis in particular, it can probably build on its existing agricultural reputation, and capture more of the growing “fork the farm” movement (as I like to say). (I still think of Davis as a natural stopping point, between the Sierra and Bay Area. Most other valley towns are nowhere near as appealing to stop in.)

      1. Ron

        When I was a kid, the Nut Tree served that function (for families).  I know that things are different today, but people still like to stop, eat, and walk around charming towns like Davis. (And, there’s a growing interest in organic farming, local produce, etc.) As much as I criticize UCD’s lack of an adequate housing plan, it can also play a central role/partnership.

      2. Matt Williams

        Ron said . . . “I still think of Davis as a natural stopping point, between the Sierra and Bay Area. Most other valley towns are nowhere near as appealing to stop in.”

        That is an interesting hypothesis Ron.  One worth discussing.  In your mind’s eye is the “natural stop” you describe, one where Bay Area to Sierra travelers spend the night in Davis, or is the “natural stop” for a bit of refreshment and then a resumption of the journey?

        In either of those scenarios, what are the “natural attractions” that make Davis an appealing “natural stop” for Bay Area to Sierra travelers (all travelers for that matter)?

        1. Ron

          Matt:  Mostly because it’s about halfway between the two destinations, and is also west of the junction of two major highways (80 and 50).  (The Nut Tree had an additional junction – 505.) When the Nut Tree started, the highways weren’t here, but I assume it was still a junction point.

          Beyond that, Davis is an appealing town, relative easy to access from 80.  (In comparison, who would want to stop in the outskirts of Sacramento on the east side, or in West Sacramento? Actually, there’s no “there, there”.)  I know people who stop in Davis, now.  (Not an “overnight” stay.)

          As I-80 becomes more and more “dysfunctional”, more people might want to stop in Davis, to wait for a “window of opportunity” (in traffic), to get home.

          But really, this is another topic.  Kind of wondering what John had in mind, even though I think he’s probably a “dreaded pro-development” type.  🙂  (I’ve previously noted that he writes carefully and thoughtfully, though.)

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Mostly because it’s about halfway between the two destinations, and is also west of the junction of two major highways (80 and 50).  Beyond that, Davis is an appealing town, relative easy to access from 80. I know people who stop in Davis, now.  (Not an “overnight” stay.”

          Your discussions with people you know who stop in Davis now are good tests of your hypothesis.

          — What do those people do when they are making their stop in Davis?

          — What are the amenities that make Davis an appealing town to them?

          — What similar towns on other routes of similar distance as Bay Area to the Sierra (such as going from Davis to Carmel, or from Davis to Yosemite, or Davis to Ashland) that you personally travel that cause you to stop there because they are appealing to you in similar ways that Davis is appealing to you?

        3. Ron

          Matt:  Just wanted to acknowledge that I saw your response, but I think this is off-topic (from the article at hand).  Since John asked me a question in the beginning of the thread, I felt that I should provide a quick response.

          Probably best to save this topic for another day.

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